Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis urged the U-S House Natural Resources Committee not to allow the two-percent royalty rate for soda ash to increase six percent, as is being proposed by the Obama Administration. Lummis told the committee Thursday that the two percent royalty rate has helped the industry.
“During the five years of the 2% royalty rate, U.S. manufacturers increased employment, increased production and exports, and increased the royalties paid to the federal and state coffers as compared to the previous five years when the royalty was higher. So by any measure this was a success.”
Lummis said her bill will keep the royalty rate at two percent, and allow producers to compete with the synthetic soda ash industry in China. Lummis told the committee that she does not oppose a tax on mineral production.
“But the federal government has to be smart when developing and setting these rates. Because as we know it is a global marketplace with the Chinese subsidizing their synthetic product to the tune of 30 million dollars annually. Yet our government is proposing to increase the costs on our natural American made product to the tune of 25 million dollars annually. So we’ve got a double hit.”
Soda ash is used in household cleaners, windshields and cell phones, and Sweetwater County produces about 90 percent of the soda ash in the United States. The United Steelworkers Union backs the Lummis bill.